The reasons why Jurgen Klopp continues to choose Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum as midfielder for Liverpool


An hour before kick-off on Sunday afternoon, teams were announced for the clash between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in Anfield.

For the Reds, the goalkeeper was given, the defense was as expected, and the attacking trio was locked in place as usual.

But the chosen midfield, as it always seems, has resulted in fights between fans.

Again, Jurgen Klopp had opted for his three trusted lieutenants – Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Gini Wijnaldum – to do a job for him. The decision was largely met with confusion, especially considering the growing influence of Fabinho as a featured artist.

Despite the relief and enthusiasm of victory at the last breath, there is still a prevailing thought among some supporters that Klopp continues to choose a midfield made up of players who look defensive and limited in an offensive sense.

Is there an underlying tactical reason?

Firstly, to demonstrate an example of why the midfield in question might be considered appropriate in some scenarios, go back to March when Liverpool faced Watford. The Reds won 5-0 on the day, but crucially, all five assists came from the side of the team.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has scored three assists, and Andy Robertson has accumulated two, with the offensive capacity of these two players largely because a conservative midfield can be employed while maintaining solid performance.

Watford is known for its 4-2-2-2 system, which is incredibly narrow and centered on the center. From Liverpool's point of view, if the opposing team attacks in the middle, then it makes logical sense to be defensive in that area, and then attack relentlessly on the flanks.

On the day, Liverpool hit more crosses than they usually do, just as with better accuracy, with the crossed map shown below.

Cross-Sectional Map of Liverpool vs. Watford
Cross-Sectional Map of Liverpool vs. Watford

Ultimately, the defensive selection & # 39; Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum do not always matter offensively as they can often depend on the opposing team and how Liverpool planned to attack them.

In addition, all three are quite justified to start against the top opposition, such as Bayern Munich, for example, how to pressurize becomes the point guard of Liverpool in these games.

Higher-quality teams generally demonstrate a sense of pride and willingness to play, and Klopp's side can press them into mistakes and consistently win the ball in dangerous areas as a result.

In these game scenarios, the midfield has to offer a bit more tactical understanding and ball-winning ability, so the lack of creative threat is not detrimental. Klopp's favored midfield, three, is well suited for such situations, as his ability to mourn and aggressive allows opposing mistakes to be made.

Liverpool strikers can then attack when the ball is won, with Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner staying in most cases.

In the case of the Spurs, due to their limited options in the midfield, it is reasonable to suggest that Liverpool anticipated the formation or approach that would be employed by Mauricio Pochettino.

The first half consisted of countless efforts to shift from one side to the other, with both Alexander-Arnold and Robertson consistently free and available, shown below.

Robertson swings to find Alexander-Arnold free on the opposite flank
Robertson swings to find Alexander-Arnold free on the opposite flank

The first goal of the match came as a result, with Robertson managing to take over as a free man and move on before hitting a cross for Roberto Firmino, shown below.

Robertson takes Firmino's opening strike. Spurs
Robertson takes Firmino's opening strike. Spurs

Again, the logic behind opting for a "conservative" midfield largely made sense, with the Spurs threat being mostly central, considering the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli. Objectively, the idea is to attack using both defenders and the three attackers to some extent, with midfield three offering defensive security and counter-attack coverage.

However, although the logic behind the situational option by a cautious midfield explains the likes of Naby Keita, Adam Lallana and the exclusion of Xherdan Shaqiri, this does not apply to Fabinho.

The Brazilian is predominantly a defensive player, with his role being much like Henderson's most of the time.

In this case, Klopp's reasoning is harder to justify, since Fabinho seems to offer much of what Henderson, Milner, and Wijnaldum do, in addition to providing a level of composure and valuable control in the midst of chaos.

Maybe it's due to Fabinho being less mobile than the three in question in terms of pace and speed of recovery, and he's not sure enough to be able to cover the necessary ground yet against a higher side like the Spurs. On the other hand, the three midfielders have played with Klopp for many years and are more rooted in the system than Fabinho, who is still relatively new.

It could also be related to the character, considering the stature of the match, with Henderson, Wijnaldum and Milner being all considered leaders among the squadrons – compared to Fabinho, who is one of the newest faces. These are aspects that can not be truly determined, but it is reasonable to suggest that they may be influencing things.

Ultimately, the uproar over Klopp's midfield selection is understandable, but not always guaranteed. Often the three Orthodox are chosen with the intent of covering the attackers' mentality of attack, or providing an urgent basis from which the team can counterattack.

However, in Fabinho's case, logic seems harder to justify without training ground experience or inner knowledge, since he seems capable enough in terms of ability and style of play to position himself against practically any opponent.

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